Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research

Projects focus on materials and concepts, testing, and system analysis.

Post Center of Excellence

With the closing of the HSECoE, Hydrogen Storage Engineering (H2SE) is now maintaining the goal of reducing our Nation's dependence on foreign energy sources by developing technologies that promote sustainable energy sources for powering our cars, homes, and businesses in the future. The significant engineering challenges that H2SE addresses are associated with developing lower-pressure, materials-based, hydrogen storage systems for hydrogen fuel cell and internal combuston engine light-duty vehicles. Our mission is to address the significant engineering challenges associated with developing lower-pressure, material-based, hydrogen storage systems for hydrogen fuel cell and internal combustion engine light-duty vehicles. The ultimate goal of H2SEs work is to help reduce our Nation's dependence on foreign energy sources by changing the way we power our cars, homes, and businesses.

Annual Progress Reports summarize activities and progress of these projects funded by the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program. Click here to view the 2017 Annual Progress Report published in May 2018.


Our Approach

The center is developing on-board vehicular hydrogen storage systems and components that will allow for light-duty vehicles capable of a driving range comparable to today's vehicles while meeting commercial cost, and reliabilit requirements. This effort includes developing engineering, design, and system models required to optimize on-board subsystems.

To review DOE Targets for Onboard Hydrogen Storage Systems for Light-Duty Vehicles, click here

Objectives for Department of Energy (DOE):
To design, evaluate and construct, test and evaluate subscale solid-state hydrogen storage systems for the Department of Energy (DOE). These subscale prototypes can include storage systems based on 3 main classes of hydrogen storage materials: adsorbents, metal hydrides and chemical hydrides. The storage systems under investigation must meet several DOE targets and Go/No-Go Decisions before they can move on to the construction and testing phases of the program.

These efforts include comprehensive system modeling and engineering analysis and assessments of material-based storage system technologies for detailed comparisons against the DOE performance targets for light-duty vehicles. The Center has developed 3 spider charts for each material class to show how modeled systems compare against all of the DOE 2020 targets.

Objectives for H22SE:
• Qualify for performance requirements for condensed-phase storage systems
• Coordinate with other institutions around the globe to compile storage media requirements and data
• Define advanced heat and mass transfer approaches to meet demanding automotive requirements
• Provide modeling to assist the materials development community

Click here to view System Projection Graphs.

Metal Hydride System:
Metal hydrides are on-board rechareable materials which chemically bind hydrogen to metal and/or metalloid atoms and have hydrogen densities greater than that of liquid hydrogen. These materials endothermically discharge hydrogen; thus added heat is required for discharge and cooling required for charging. Understanding the role of sorption enthalpy in concert with chemical kinetics, weight fraction hydrogen specific heat and thermal conductive are essential to the metal hydride system.

Adsorbent Hydride System:
Absorbent hydrides are on-board rechargeable materials that bind hydrogen in its molecular state through van der Waals bond to untra-high surface area super activated carbons or MOF (Metal-Oxide Framework) materials. The enthalpy of the absorbed hydrogen is much less than in the chemically bound states, thus cooling to typically 77k is required to hold hydrogen. Understanding the cryogenic heat flow, super-insulated materials and compaction of these materials are essential in the design of absorbent hydride systems.

Chemical Hydride System:
Chemical hydrides are off-board rechargeable materials which chemically bind hydrogen and have hydrogen densities greaer than that of liquid hydrogen. These materials exothermically discharge hydrogen; thus heat removal is required for hydrogen discharge and energy efficient charging need to be developed. Understanding of solid state reactors, solid material transport and heterogeneous catalysis are essential in the design of chemical hydride systems.

Our partners

Hydrogen Storage Engineering (H2SE) is led by Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) and partnerships with universities, industrial corporations, and federal laboratories located around the country and internationally.